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A basic couponing guide which contains tips and recommendations for first time couponers.

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Couponing 101

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couponing 101

Couponing 101

A guide for beginners

take note
Take Note:
  • If you clip coupons every now and then, toss them in your purse, and pull them out occasionally, if and when you remember, then you probably think you know a thing or two about coupons—and you’re likely not impressed.
  • Here’s the cold, hard truth, so brace yourself—you’re not doing it right! If you want to see big savings—I’m talking hundreds of dollars off of your monthly grocery bill—then, pull out your scissors and stay tuned. We’re revealing the dirty little secrets of the most dedicated and successful coupon divas. Here’s your step-by-step guide to becoming one too:

1 gather the goods the coupons that is
1. Gather the goods—the coupons, that is.
  • If you’re serious about learning how to coupon effectively, you’re going to need some coupons– and lots of them. While you may want to start out small to prevent feeling as if you’re drowning in a pile of glossy barcodes, eventually you’re going to want a reliable source of mass coupons.


 Here are some ideas:

  • The newspaper. Yep, there are some advantages to going the traditional route. Subscribe to a local newspaper (after checking to be sure they provide coupons, of course), and ask if you can get a discount on multiple subscriptions. A subscription can significantly slash your coupon investment by taking dollars off of the newsstand prices each month.
  • Friends and family. You’d be surprised—and delighted—to know that there are people who love you who will just hand over their coupons without batting an eye. Who knew? Resist the urge to school them on the fact that they’re giving away money—if you want to count them as an ongoing source of coupons, that is.

  • The web. It’s official; you can buy anything on the web, including coupons. Simply go to a coupon-clipping site like The Coupon Clippers or Coupons &Things by Dee Dee, and choose the coupons you want. Typically, you can purchase multiples of entire newspaper inserts or just the ones from each insert that you’re likely to use. This is an inexpensive and efficient way of getting multiple coupons delivered right to your mailbox! Of course, you can also go to sites like, SmartSource, or RedPlum that offer internet printable coupons (IPs) and have them delivered right to your printer instantly! Click, clip, and print—it’s that easy!
  • Facebook. If you’re not on Facebook, you should run to the nearest computer and sign up right now because the rest of the world is waiting for you. No, seriously. Facebook is not just for college socialites. Companies are taking advantage of the marketing opportunities that Facebook has to offer, and what does that mean for you? Yep, you guessed it! More coupons! All you have to do is “like” a company on their Facebook site, and they’ll often let you print a coupon for their product—sometimes two!

  • The train. The coupon train, that is. Yes, they exist and you can join one today. Simply log on to a popular coupon site like A Full Cup, locate the coupon train thread, and find a conductor. The conductor will match you up with a weekly partner who will trade coupons with you. This is a great way of getting rid of the coupons you can’t use and stocking up on the ones you need the most. Choo-Choo!
  • The dumpster. No joke. You wouldn’t believe how many people toss their coupons in the garbage can. Talk about throwing away money! If you’re brave or adventurous enough, their loss could be your gain. Just make sure you ask first before you go dumpster-diving!

2 get organized
2.  Get Organized
  • There are a variety of ways to organize your coupons. Simply, choose the one that best fits your personality and capabilities:

  • The Accordion-Style OrganizerThis is probably the most popular choice and is great for the beginning couponer. Simply label each compartment in the organizer by the type of grocery item (i.e. canned good, frozen food, cleaning items, etc.), clip your coupons, and file them according to type.
  • The BinderIf you’re a self-described coupon queen, you’re going to find out quickly that the accordion-style organizer just won’t cut it—usually about the time you figure out that you can’t close it or fit it into your purse any longer. That’s when you know it’s time to upgrade to a binder. Get yourself a 2 or 3 inch binder depending upon your needs and some clear plastic inserts with divided pockets—like the kind used to store baseball cards. Use tab dividers to separate different types of coupons just as you would in an accordion-style organizer. With a binder, however, you’ll find that you have a lot more space for your enormous collection of coupons and you will likely be able to find coupons more quickly and easily as well.

  • The File CabinetIf you don’t have much time to clip coupons, but still want to see some savings, the filing cabinet method is for you. Simply staple your weekly coupon inserts together, label them by date, and file them away. When you plan your weekly shopping trips, you can use a trusted blog or online coupon database to point you to the coupons you need. Then, pull them from your file, clip the ones you need, and off you go to the store to save big!
  • The Envelope SystemThe envelope system is a perfect companion to any of the three methods above and will keep you organized on shopping day—which just might be everyday if you’re a true coupon diva! Simply, purchase some of the longer-sized mailing envelopes (or plastic ones if you want something more durable), label them by the names of the stores you frequent most often, and file the coupons you need for that store each week. Sorting your coupons into the appropriate envelope before you leave home will save you a lot of time and energy while doing the actual shopping. You can also use these envelopes to store reward cards, store coupons, and other store-specific incentives.


Of course, you can combine one or more of these to suit your needs—there are no right or wrong answers, just savings! Whichever method you choose, be sure to bring your coupon organizer wherever you go; you never know when you’ll find an unadvertised deal or clearance rack—the perfect opportunity to whip out your coupons!

3 be crafty
3. Be crafty.
  • There’s so much more to couponing than simply clipping them and handing them to the cashier. It’s actually a very intellectually-stimulating process, and the craftier you are, the deeper your savings will be. Here are a few tips to guide you on your journey to becoming a coupon connoisseur:


Stack store and manufacturer coupons to maximize savings.

  • Use two coupons on Buy-One-Get-One-Free deals.
  • Wait until the product goes on sale to use your coupon for that item.
  • Combine coupons with reward programs such as CVS’ “Extra Care Bucks” and Rite Aid’s “UP” rewards.
  • Combine coupons with rebate offers.
  • Use coupons on clearance items for deep discounts.

4 have your guard up
4. Have your guard up.
  • Be prepared to be called all sorts of names from “crazy” to “cheap” to “extreme” (thanks to TLC’s new show), but  just remember, you’re the one bringing home the bacon at .50 per package, and the name-callers are likely just jealous of your skills. Be prepared for this kind of heckling and decide beforehand how you’re going to deal with it. My advice—don’t get angry or flustered—simply, smile and offer them a few tips or even a coupon for one of the items in their shopping buggy. You never know—you may just score a coupon buddy!
  • Once you learn the tools of the trade and start to rack up the savings, you’ll be hooked. Some may even say obsessed, but can you think of a better thing to be obsessed about than saving money? I didn’t think so.

get the free e book
Get the FREE E-book

Visit our site for more tips about printable coupons and to download this FREE E-book.